Dixon launches several outbursts against IndyCar race control, Penske (VIDEO)

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Honestly, it’s almost comical how much bad luck has hit Scott Dixon lately. His luck never been great for the entirety of his IZOD IndyCar Series career, but the last two weeks have been a case study in the IndyCar version of Murphy’s Law.

I think a lot of us on the ground were hoping that Dixon’s Sonoma pit incident with Will Power would be reduced to the background this weekend in Baltimore. But as it turned out, that was merely the first ingredient in the cauldron of controversy that is boiling over between these two – and race control.

Friday in practice, the two, naturally, found each other in practice. It was a minor dust-up and the two laughed it off, with Dixon calling Power an “Australian wanker” jokingly on Saturday after the Firestone Fast Six qualifying session.

Sunday it all blew up again. Dixon had already been spun in Turn 1 by Graham Rahal on a Lap 48 restart, but Rahal wasn’t issued a penalty by race control.

And then, as you’d expect, Dixon was just behind Power on the next restart on Lap 53. And of course, Power, who’d got a similar run on the inside of Sebastien Bourdais as Bourdais did to Rahal’s inside, shifted his line to the inside of the course, clipping Dixon and putting him into the wall. It was simply surreal to watch.

The funny thing was, Dixon didn’t seem as mad about the contact with Power as he was with race control for Rahal avoiding a penalty for their contact, and for INDYCAR leaving him on track with a damaged, but possibly repairable, car. It’s not the first time this has happened; it also occurred to him at Long Beach in 2012.

We’ll let Dixon’s official quotes from the Target Chip Ganassi Racing release tell the story from here:

“The No. 15 (Rahal) should have received a penalty (for spinning us) and the No. 4 car (Oriol Servia) passed us on a yellow. So that restart near the end was a complete bosh. On the restart I had an overtake advantage on Power, it must have been in fourth gear, so they can’t complain about wheel spin. Then I got beside him and he ran me straight into the wall. Then, they wouldn’t bring the car back. (Race director) Beaux needs to be fired. He was a complete idiot today.”

Power, for his part, said what he could to apologize.

“The accident on the restart really ended up ruining two good days,” Power said. “I thought I had a really good run on Bourdais and I was going to the inside to get around him and I thought I hit a bump or just lost it on cold tires. I really had no idea that (Scott) Dixon was there. I actually didn’t even know until I got back to the pits and they told me. I feel terrible for him and his team. All I can do is tell them how sorry I am and move on to Houston.”

Further quotes of Dixon’s frustration were found in a report by Stuff.co.nz. In these, Dixon alleged that Power did take him out on purpose and that Penske Racing president Tim Cindric told Power what to say in his post-race interview.

“It was funny on the radio when we were scanning them in the situation when Power was sitting in the pits. Cindric was telling him exactly what to say when he gets out of the car. Cindric’s a piece of s***, which is quite obvious to a lot of people nowadays,” Dixon was quoted as saying.

These are not light accusations, words and claims by Dixon and camp. It’s going to be interesting to see if any further penalties from INDYCAR follow for the outbursts.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.